Identities are important...especially for institutions. Institutions need their identities, so as times and people change, the identity carries on and new people can grasp on to something. It provides security and trust. Changing that identity is risky and members of institutions are naturally risk averse. They wouldn't hold onto institutions if they wanted something new. BC established a clear identity for its football program for years. Coaches were part of that identity and most of our hires over the last 40 years have been assistants looking for their shot or smaller college guys looking to move up. Bill O'Brien doesn't fit either mold. He won at a big college program and in the NFL. And now he is the most accomplished Football coach BC has ever hired.
BC athletic director Blake James deserves the majority of the credit for hiring O'Brien. Too many ADs in the past would just keep to the mold. Keep to the budget. Keep control. James hired an established leader with instant credibility and someone who is likely to succeed. Ever since Coughlin left, we've had a series of mediocre and bad coaches. Most of those guys had some level of success. In theory if they could stumble into six wins and a bowl game, the ceiling for BOB should be much higher.
One of the selling points to some of the past unknowns is that we might be hiring the next Tom Coughlin, the next Hall of Famer, a guy who is going to unlock something special at BC. Because they were blank slates, we rationalized it to ourselves. "Maybe he is special." Reality would kick in along the way. Sometimes pretty quickly. With Bill O'Brien we don't have to strain to believe. We don't have to fool ourselves. We know he can do it because he has done it before.
I know it may not work. It is never as simple as "just go hire the biggest name." For this to be special, BOB will have to adjust, he will have to find the right people (staff and players) and BC will have to get a little lucky. But we are trying something different and that is a good thing. We are stepping out of our place in the College Football ecosystem. We are changing our identity.
It is a new beginning at BC and 2024 is already one of the most important years in BC Football and it is only February. Let's go!